Flaxmere kai pantry helping whānau from Wairoa to Dannevirke

By Aroha Treacher

The Free Food Pantry in Flaxmere provides kai to around 500 people every week. Since Te Ao last visited the Hawke's Bay pantry two years ago, demand for their service has grown significantly.

Lynsey Abbott of One Voice Community Services which runs the pantry helps get it ready with supplies for each day of community service.

"The minute we fill it up, within an hour, if that whole pātaka is full, within an hour it’s empty," Abbott says.

She gets the message out about the service through social media.

"The last time that you were here we were helping 250 people, now we are helping 500 people plus."

Abbott says the need is so great their reach stretches from Wairoa down to Dannevirke.

"For me, the rent is too high, too high for so many families. There’s so many families out there, both parents are working or one parent is working, and they still don’t’ have enough to put a kai on the table." 

She and her husband Haira started the service to help fill a need in the community. They have support from New World Flaxmere and now get WINZ referrals.

"I had asked them to refer them here and let them know our pātaka is available. We get a lot of people turning up here with their decline letters."

The Flaxmere pantry is part of a network of more than 100 other pantries around the country, where kai is donated and anyone can help themselves.